A photograph owned by Elton John has been seized by police over concerns that it features child pornography.

The snap by controversial New York artist Nan Goldin was due to feature in an exhibition at The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead.

The photographer is renowned for her contraversial images and the picture is believed to show two young, barely-clothed girls.

‘It was explicit. I was horrified when I saw it,’ a Baltic source tells the Sun.

‘We’ve a lot of unusual pieces, but it was beyond anyone’s thought this could be classed as art.’

Baltic bosses yesterday removed the image to allow police to investigate further.

If it’s ruled illegal, prosecutions could follow under the 1978 Protection of Children Act.

‘Who owns or owned it is also part of the investigation,’ a police spokesman confirms to the Sun.

In response, Elton has admitted owning the photograph, called Klara And Edda Belly-Dancing' and says he purchased it from the White Cube gallery in London in 1999.

‘The photograph… has been widely published and exhibited throughout the world,’ adds Elton on his official website.

‘It can be found in the monograph of Ms Goldin's works entitled The Devil's Playground(Phaidon, 2003), has been offered for sale at Sotheby's New York in 2002 and 2004, and has previously been exhibited in Houston, London, Madrid, New York, Portugal, Warsaw and Zurich without any objections of which we are aware.’

Phil Boucher